May 24 - Listening Brings Wisdom

By Barbara Lighthizer

Today's Scripture: Proverbs 15:31-32

Central Thought: Can God use criticism?

    Disapproval can undermine our self-confidence and cause us pain, but God instructs us to listen to correction. He doesn't tell us to accept all that is said but to consider if there is value for our situation.

    As children, we receive correction that enables us to avoid many dangers of our everyday surroundings. When we enter early adulthood, we tend to ignore correction or criticism with very little consideration to its validity. In later years, we admit some pitfalls were a result of not listening to advice.

    The Lord stresses the importance of weighing decisions with His plan for each life. He instructs us to keep Him first and to walk according to His Word, which provides us with a basic map for the route to take. However, if our plans begin to stray from the way the Lord wants us to go, He may send someone who will expose flaws in our intent. It's never easy to listen while a person rips apart our well-thought-out ideas. The input may seem harsh, but if we listen, we may see better ways to implement our plans.

    The Bible states that not all criticism is good—only the life-giving rebukes. How can we know if we should heed the correction? Determine if the advice is biblical and, if applied, how our plans would change. We need to pray for guidance and then move forward with confidence about our decisions.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, teach me to listen not with just my ears but with my heart as well, and to receive criticism without becoming defensive.

Today's Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 4:1-6:23; John 13:31-14:14; Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 15:31- 32